The Barcelona Provincial Court Rules On the Controversial “Digital Levy”

6 April 2011

After having referred the matter to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation and application of the rule, Chamber XV of the Barcelona Provincial Court issued their own ruling.

Following on the heels of the well-known ECJ ruling, the court gathered the conclusions of the preliminary ruling and ruled on the merits of the matter, rejecting the claim filed by the Spanish intellectual property rights management society SGAE.

At the time, the Barcelona Provincial Court asked a series of questions relating to the interpretation of the concept of “equitable compensation” which appears in article 5, section 2, letter b) of EC Directive 2001/29, in the context of a legal proceeding brought by the SGAE. Based on these questions, which were subject to analysis along with the Spanish system of flat rate compensation for private copies for storage media.

In summary, the conclusion of the Barcelona Provincial Court is that the SGAE’s claim to the digital levy for digital media for private individual is legitimate. Notwithstanding same, the ruling affirms that in this case in particular, there was no accreditation of how many digital media were to be used by private individuals and how many were to be used by professionals, so that it was impossible to calculate the amount of the levy to be paid by the defendant, which is why the claim was rejected.

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